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Today is 'Day of giving blood' by blind and visually impaired

Blind community, others rallying together to add to local blood supply

The LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired will join the American Red Cross in holding a one-day, special blood drive in Pleasanton today.

Bryan Bashin, CEO of San Francisco's LightHouse for the Blind, said LightHouse considers this an opportunity for the blind community and its constituents to rally together in support of the local blood supply.

"Often in the past, people have thought of the blind as a group who are the recipients of others' generosity," Bashin said. "We're hoping to change a bit of that perception by rolling up our sleeves and giving back to the same philanthropic community who has long helped us."

The winter months are traditionally a difficult time for the Red Cross to collect blood and the recent severe winter weather across the U.S. further hampered collection efforts.

"During winter, we rely on local organizations stepping up to help ensure that blood is available year-round," said Sara O'Brien, communications manager for Red Cross Blood Services in Northern California. "The blind community's willingness to sponsor multiple blood drives speaks to its passion for community service and desire to help others."

In Pleasanton, the blood drive will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Red Cross center at 5556-B Springfield Ave.

Walk-ins are welcome, but donors are encouraged to make an appointment by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visiting redcrossblood.org (enter sponsor code: DAYOFGIVING). Follow @lighthouse_sf where the drive will be promoted, and use the hashtag #blindblooddrive15 when sharing comments and photos.

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